Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau Completes CBR Training At Sea

EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN - Petty Officer 2nd Class Johnathan Kinker, a Gunners Mate onboard Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau, demonstrates how to use a M2HB .50 caliber machine gun during a Chemical, Biological and radiological drill here Friday, May 2, 2008.

EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN — Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau’s crew successfully completed the first set of chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) drills Friday, May 2, 2008.

CBR drills simulate chemical, biological, or radiological attacks on the ship from any foreign agent.

CBR training is one unique aspect of the all encompassing training the crew executes daily, and it takes on a tremendous level of importance in the region. Crew members participated in simulated chemical warlike attacks on the Morgenthau in preparation for their upcoming Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), as well as South East Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEA-CAT) exercises.

The first stage of the training involves the issuing of advanced chemical protection gear, a suit that protects a person from chemical agents, and the MCU-2P gas mask. The MCU-2P gas mask is specially designed for the person donning it, thus protecting the person more effectively, said Ensign Rven Garcia, Damage Control Assistant and Electronics Mate Division Officer onboard Morgenthau.

The second stage of the training involves deploying surveying and monitoring teams that survey and monitor the situation therefore locating chemical agents onboard the ship, he said.

“The best preparation for this type of drill is to plan ahead and to have the correct unexpired equipment,” said Garcia. “It is essential that each crew member reads the CBR bill which is a guideline of how to respond to a CBR attack,” he said.

The final stage of the drill is decontamination which cleans any crew member exposed to a chemical agent. “Any contaminated personnel must go through the decontamination locker, which will safely remove any contaminants from that person, said Garcia.

Garcia said that the hardest part of this drill is making time to plan end execute because it involves the entire 179-member crew and takes two days to complete.

Training for emergencies at sea has always been a top focus for the Coast Guard, and requires constant practice under many different circumstances to ensure proficiency. In addition to CBR drills, Morgenthau conducts routine safety, man overboard, abandon ship, fire, collision and flooding drills to ensure the safety and proficiency of the crew.

“This kind of training (CBR) is always beneficial because in the event that this scenario actually occurred, the crew is prepared and therefore their likelihood of success and survivability greatly increases,” said Lt. David Alvarez, who is temporarily assigned to the Morgenthau.

“We need to ensure that we can defend ourselves during an emergency as well as carry out our mission and its objectives,” said Alvarez. “It’s always good to be prepared, and you hope you don’t ever have to do this, but we train hard because there’s always a chance of an attack,” he said.

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